08.31 Wed

August 31, 2011
Gareth Bain

Theme: Hugs & Kisses — The last word of each theme answer can mean either a hug (O) or a kiss (X).

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Method of looking for keys? (HUNT AND PECK).
  • 28A: Finishing by the deadline, sometimes (TIGHT SQUEEZE).
  • 48A: Bad-mouthing someone (TALKING SMACK).
  • 64A: Call waiting diversion (MUSIC ON HOLD).
  • 63D: Love letter closing, and in sequence, a hint to the ends of 18-, 28-, 48- and 64-Across (XOXO).
Love this theme! Super cute! I couldn't figure out what was going on until I got down to the reveal.

  • 15A: Noble gas (XENON). I don't really know what it means for a gas to be "noble," so whenever I see this clue I picture a cartoon-looking blob with a crown and scepter. I don't think nobles actually wear crowns, but that part doesn't really bother me.
  • 57A: Soccer star Freddy (ADU). Now that I work in a real estate law firm, ADU means Affordable Dwelling Unit.
  • 69A: Steve of country (EARLE). Excellent.

  • 3D: Penultimate element, alphabetically (ZINC). Expecting a little too much science out of me today!
  • 11D: Brisket source (STEER). Me: "deli?"
  • 28D: Fashion statements in the 'hood (TATS). Oh for crying out loud. Really? That's just … I don't even know what to say. PuzzleHusband and I both have tattoos and there's no possible way North Arlington qualifies as a "'hood" on any scale ever conceived of. Unless, of course, you're being completely ironic. But obviously that doesn't count.

  • 53D: "The Stranger" author (CAMUS). I believe "The Stranger" shows up in a clue in today's New York Times puzzle as well. Weird.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: N.L. West team, on scoreboards (ARI).
  • 22A: Peace Prize winner Wiesel (ELIE).
  • 24A: Love god (EROS).
  • 33A: Young newt (EFT).
  • 43A: Harald V's capital (OSLO).
  • 46A: Future fish (ROE).
  • 73A: Punk rock offshoot (EMO).
  • 66D: Hobbit enemy (ORC).
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Everything 1A: "Les __" (MIZ); 4A: As a friend, in French (EN AMI); 9A: Actor Romero (CESAR); 14A: N.L. West team, on scoreboards (ARI); 15A: Noble gas (XENON); 16A: Latin stars (ASTRA); 17A: MLK birthday month (JAN.); 18A: Method of looking for keys? (HUNT AND PECK); 20A: Relay race closer (ANCHOR); 22A: Peace Prize winner Wiesel (ELIE); 23A: Wide shoe size (EEE); 24A: Love god (EROS); 26A: Working parts (INNARDS); 28A: Finishing by the deadline, sometimes (TIGHT SQUEEZE); 32A: Computer pioneer Lovelace (ADA); 33A: Young newt (EFT); 34A: Many Semites (ARABS); 38A: Reveal (TELL); 40A: Knight's ride (STEED); 43A: Harald V's capital (OSLO); 44A: Capital on the Willamette (SALEM); 46A: Future fish (ROE); 47A: World games org. (IOC); 48A: Bad-mouthing someone (TALKING SMACK); 53A: Food packaging unit (CALORIE); 56A: German river (SAAR); 57A: Soccer star Freddy (ADU); 58A: In __: moody (A PET); 60A: Like Chris and Pat, genderwise (UNISEX); 64A: Call waiting diversion (MUSIC ON HOLD); 67A: Big name in kitchen gadgets (OXO); 68A: Violet lead-in (ULTRA); 69A: Steve of country (EARLE); 70A: Nth degree (MAX); 71A: Eyelid annoyances (STYES); 72A: In small pieces, as potatoes (RICED); 73A: Punk rock offshoot (EMO); 1D: Whom Goya painted both nude and clothed (MAJA); 2D: OPEC co-founder (IRAN); 3D: Penultimate element, alphabetically (ZINC); 4D: Encourage (EXHORT); 5D: Couch disorders (NEUROSES); 6D: Raggedy gal (ANN); 7D: Speck of dust (MOTE); 8D: How perjurers may be caught (IN A LIE); 9D: Concerto highlight (CADENZA); 10D: Sixth sense, briefly (ESP); 11D: Brisket source (STEER); 12D: Curved (ARCED); 13D: Works in the garden (RAKES); 19D: Lofted iron (NINE); 21D: Villainous laugh syllable (HEH); 25D: Acre's 43,560: Abbr. (SQ. FT.); 27D: Prefix with space (AERO-); 28D: Fashion statements in the 'hood (TATS); 29D: "Eureka!" elicitor (IDEA); 30D: Sass (GALL); 31D: Early development sites? (UTERI); 35D: 2-Down's location (ASIA); 36D: Political group (BLOC); 37D: __ puppet (SOCK); 39D: Actor Jared (LETO); 41D: Ages and ages (EONS); 42D: He succeeded Coty as French president (DEGAULLE); 45D: Latin percussion pair (MARACAS); 49D: Plastic surgeon's job, for short (LIPO); 50D: Sharper, as eyes (KEENER); 51D: Smoothed in a shop (SANDED); 52D: Hosp. picture (MRI); 53D: "The Stranger" author (CAMUS); 54D: X-rated (ADULT); 55D: Hale (LUSTY); 59D: Pad __: Asian noodle dish (THAI); 61D: A portion (of) (SOME); 62D: Checkup (EXAM); 63D: Love letter closing, and in sequence, a hint to the ends of 18-, 28-, 48- and 64-Across (XOXO); 65D: Wrath (IRE); 66D: Hobbit enemy (ORC).


08.30 Tue

August 30, 2011
Nancy Salomon

Theme: Go-Getters — Each theme answer is a familiar two-word phrase where the word "go" can precede each word to form two other familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Sydney's locale, familiarly (DOWN UNDER).
  • 21A: *Man, according to a longtime Desmond Morris best-seller (NAKED APE).
  • 33A: *Bluntly (STRAIGHT OUT).
  • 42A: *Skip-over-ads button (FAST FORWARD).
  • 55A: *Hosting squad (HOME TEAM).
  • 61A: Overachievers, and a hint to a word that can precede both words of the starred answers (GO-GETTERS).
I'm always impressed by this type of theme, where both halves of the theme answer can be used to form new phrases. It doesn't really enhance my enjoyment while I'm solving, but that's likely because I don't take the time to think about each theme answer as I enter it, and that's not the puzzle's fault. But I go through them post-solve and usually have a chuckle or two, so it's all good. Some of the resulting "go" phrases seem kind of random (I'm looking at you, GO FAST and GO UNDER), but HOME TEAM makes two "go" phrases that really shine, so maybe it all evens out in the end.

  • 1A: Beat to a pulp (MASH). This amused me. To me, the phrase "beat to a pulp" is 100% figurative. I mean, that's how you talk about the victim of a bar brawl, right? But taken literally, it's about cooking! Ha!
  • 9A: Very cold (GELID). Can't remember if it was the LAT, but I do recall seeing this word in a puzzle sometime in the last year or so. I still don't like it.
  • 20A: Ain't right? (AREN'T). The word "ain't" is, of course, not a "proper" word. If you fix it up right, it becomes "aren't."
  • 29A: Doggone (DADGUM). Best word in the grid. Made me LOL.
  • 66A: Case for notions (ÉTUI). I'm sure we all have our favorite crosswordese (and by favorite, of course, I mean most dreaded). This is mine. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but I can tell you right now I'm never putting it in a puzzle. (Doug: We haven't put ÉTUI in a puzzle, have we?)
  • 12D: "No need to wake me" ("I'M UP"). Great colloquial phrase.
  • 22D: Twisty-horned antelope (KUDU). I like the way this looks in the grid. I would like it more if it was something I'd ever heard of.
  • 40D: Popular Dixie drink (SWEET TEA). I was in North Carolina last year for a girls' weekend and at lunch one day one of the girls ordered unsweetened tea. Our horrified host immediately apologized to the waitress and, even though they were trying to keep the ensuing conversation to themselves, I'm pretty sure I heard the word "yankee" a couple times.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Guinness who played Obi-Wan (ALEC).
  • 66A: Case for notions (ÉTUI).
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Everything 1A: Beat to a pulp (MASH); 5A: Dapper Dans (FOPS); 9A: Very cold (GELID); 14A: Mental block buster (IDEA); 15A: Guinness who played Obi-Wan (ALEC); 16A: Memorable mission (ALAMO); 17A: *Sydney's locale, familiarly (DOWN UNDER); 19A: Bantu-speaking South Africans (ZULUS); 20A: Ain't right? (AREN'T); 21A: *Man, according to a longtime Desmond Morris best-seller (NAKED APE); 23A: WWII bond designation (SERIES E); 26A: Mental block buster (MUSE); 27A: Spoiled-rotten kids (BRATS); 29A: Doggone (DADGUM); 33A: *Bluntly (STRAIGHT OUT); 37A: Sun Devils' sch. (ASU); 38A: Work like a dog (TOIL); 39A: Clumsy dummy (OAF); 40A: Iditarod racer (SLED); 41A: "I'm with ya" ("YUP"); 42A: *Skip-over-ads button (FAST FORWARD); 46A: Like porn (X-RATED); 48A: Very strange (EERIE); 49A: Skyline-blurring phenomenon (HAZE); 51A: One begins parallel parking in it (REVERSE); 55A: *Hosting squad (HOME TEAM); 59A: Lucy's landlady (ETHEL); 60A: "It was you," in a Verdi aria (ERI TU); 61A: Overachievers, and a hint to a word that can precede both words of the starred answers (GO-GETTERS); 64A: Odom of the Lakers (LAMAR); 65A: Pianist Gilels (EMIL); 66A: Case for notions (ÉTUI); 67A: Annapolis frosh (PLEBE); 68A: Smelling awful (RANK); 69A: "Look __, I'm Sandra Dee": "Grease" song (AT ME); 1D: Big name in muffler replacement (MIDAS); 2D: Love to bits (ADORE); 3D: Runoff collector (SEWER); 4D: Memorable Alps crosser (HANNIBAL); 5D: Bleacher creature (FAN); 6D: Stale (OLD); 7D: Rounded hammer part (PEEN); 8D: "Get outta here!" ("SCRAM!"); 9D: Feasts one's eyes on (GAZES AT); 10D: Gave the slip (ELUDED); 11D: Tra-__ (LA-LA); 12D: "No need to wake me" ("I'M UP"); 13D: Two caplets, say (DOSE); 18D: Wombs (UTERI); 22D: Twisty-horned antelope (KUDU); 24D: Droop (SAG); 25D: Cultural credo (ETHOS); 28D: Hillary's department (STATE); 30D: Big shindig (GALA); 31D: Web browser (USER); 32D: Emmy-winning newsman Roger (MUDD); 33D: River of Hades (STYX); 34D: Take to the road, as a rock band (TOUR); 35D: Philbin co-host (RIPA); 36D: "I'm gonna make him an __ he can't refuse" (OFFER); 40D: Popular Dixie drink (SWEET TEA); 42D: Main movie (FEATURE); 43D: Wood-shaping tool (ADZE); 44D: Rock in a seam (ORE); 45D: Transfix (RIVET); 47D: What a treater picks up (THE TAB); 50D: Gung-ho (EAGER); 52D: Suave Butler (RHETT); 53D: Red Cross supply (SERUM); 54D: Borden's spokescow (ELSIE); 55D: "SOS!" ("HELP!"); 56D: Like some vaccines (ORAL); 57D: Play charades (MIME); 58D: NYC gallery (MOMA); 62D: Bathtub booze (GIN); 63D: "Benevolent" fellow (ELK).


08.29 Mon

August 29, 2011
Jennifer Nutt

Theme: So sue me! — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase in which the last word can mean something filed in a court of law.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: *Not animated, in filmmaking (LIVE ACTION).
  • 23A: *Like replays that reveal bad calls (SLOW-MOTION).
  • 49A: *One who can't function under stress (BASKET CASE).
  • 10D: *Ineffective executive (EMPTY SUIT).
  • 33D: *Hunk or babe's attribute (SEX APPEAL).
  • 59A: Where the ends of the starred answers are filed (COURT OF LAW).
Hey, everyone. Hope y'all had a good weekend. I made it through the hurricane completely unscathed, so I'm feeling very grateful today. It was definitely raining and blowing hard out there, but I didn't see any trees down in my neighborhood and I didn't ever lose power, so I'm one of the lucky ones.

Smooth solve this morning. Considering that I've worked in law firms most of my adult life, it took me far too long to figure out this theme. In my defense (see what I did there?), I only worked in litigation for a very short time, so the Perry Mason stuff isn't exactly right there in the front of my brain most days. I hope BASKET CASE was the seed entry for this puzzle, because it's awesome. EMPTY SUIT is also really nice and SEX APPEAL adds a little, um, sex appeal to the grid.

Other favorites for me include:
  • 21A: Disco dance (HUSTLE). Can you see a reference to this dance without hearing a bunch of guys yelling "Do the hustle!" at you in your head? I can't.
  • 66A: Online business review site (YELP). I've just recently discovered YELP and it's been super helpful. So far, we've used YELP to find a moving company and a mechanic and we haven't been disappointed.
  • 14D: Rascal (SCAMP). I don't know what it is about these types of words (also scoudrel and … I can't think of the others right now) but I love them. They sound old-timey and highfalutin' and, well, perfect.
  • 30D: Central Washington city (YAKIMA). I'm sure YAKIMA is a beautiful city but I don't think I could live somewhere whose names brings to mind a cat coughing up a hairball. But maybe that's just me.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 13A: Lake into which Ohio's Cuyahoga River empties (ERIE).
  • 39A: Doves' homes (COTES).
  • 65A: Movie lioness (ELSA).
  • 6D: Quarterback Manning (ELI).
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Everything 1A: Cookie holders (JARS); 5A: Baseball feature (SEAM); 9A: What gears do (MESH); 13A: Lake into which Ohio's Cuyahoga River empties (ERIE); 14A: Alabama march site (SELMA); 15A: Austen novel (EMMA); 16A: *Not animated, in filmmaking (LIVE ACTION); 18A: Rotating cooking rod (SPIT); 19A: Grassland (LEA); 20A: Plunked oneself down (SAT); 21A: Disco dance (HUSTLE); 23A: *Like replays that reveal bad calls (SLOW-MOTION); 27A: "Affirmative!" ("YES!"); 28A: Traveler's guide (MAP); 29A: Dental fillings (INLAYS); 31A: "A Doll's House" playwright (IBSEN); 34A: __ noire: literally, "black beast" (BÊTE); 35A: Enveloping glow (AURA); 38A: "I __ Pretty": "West Side Story" song (FEEL); 39A: Doves' homes (COTES); 40A: Do-it-yourselfers' buys (KITS); 41A: __-Coburg, Bavaria (SAXE); 42A: Like speaking (ORAL); 43A: Wee parasites (MITES); 44A: Word with power or reactor (ATOMIC); 46A: "Casablanca" pianist (SAM); 47A: iPhone download (APP); 49A: *One who can't function under stress (BASKET CASE); 53A: Mealtime lap item (NAPKIN); 55A: "That feels great!" (AAH); 56A: Org. issuing many refunds (IRS); 58A: Garden of Eden's __ of life (TREE); 59A: Where the ends of the starred answers are filed (COURT OF LAW); 63A: Emblem of authenticity (SEAL); 64A: Proverbial waste maker (HASTE); 65A: Movie lioness (ELSA); 66A: Online business review site (YELP); 67A: Cut with acid (ETCH); 68A: Medvedev's "no" (NYET); 1D: Come together (JELL); 2D: Astrological Ram (ARIES); 3D: Opponent (RIVAL); 4D: "Get it?" ("SEE?"); 5D: Spat (SET-TO); 6D: Quarterback Manning (ELI); 7D: __, amas, amat ... (AMO); 8D: Ways to get under the street (MANHOLES); 9D: Army meal (MESS); 10D: *Ineffective executive (EMPTY SUIT); 11D: Look happy (SMILE); 12D: Can't stand (HATES); 14D: Rascal (SCAMP); 17D: Nile dam (ASWAN); 22D: Italian "a" (UNA); 24D: Brunch staple (OMELET); 25D: Neckwear pin (TIE TACK); 26D: Santa Clara chip maker (INTEL); 30D: Central Washington city (YAKIMA); 31D: Uncertainties (IFS); 32D: Actress Arthur (BEA); 33D: *Hunk or babe's attribute (SEX APPEAL); 34D: '90s Russian president Yeltsin (BORIS); 36D: Numbered hwy. (RTE.); 37D: Barnyard brayer (ASS); 39D: Old buffalo-hunting tribe (COMANCHE); 43D: Like a he-man (MACHO); 45D: Kimono accessory (OBI); 46D: One of 50 (STATE); 47D: Unable to sit still (ANTSY); 48D: City of Light, in a Porter song (PAREE); 50D: Mars neighbor (EARTH); 51D: Goofy (SILLY); 52D: Wipe off the board (ERASE); 54D: Brown seaweed (KELP); 57D: Whack (SWAT); 60D: Cheerios grain (OAT); 61D: Trojans' sch. (USC); 62D: Quagmire (FEN).


08.28 Sun (calendar)

August 28, 2011
Merl Reagle

[Note: This is the puzzle that appears in the Sunday L.A. Times newspaper. If you don't get the paper, you can find the puzzle here. Scroll down to see today's syndicated puzzle.]

Theme: "Invasion of the Tree People" — The grid is overrun with well-known people whose last names are types of trees.

Theme answers:

  • 21A: "Boyz n the Hood" co-star (MORRIS CHESTNUT).
  • 27A: Star of a 1970s cop sitcom (HAL LINDEN).
  • 34A: "Grumpy Old Men" star (JACK LEMMON).
  • 37A: Cosmetics queen (MARY KAY ASH).
  • 47A: "Other woman" in 1990s tabloids (MARLA MAPLES).
  • 58A: "Saps at Sea" co-star (STAN LAUREL).
  • 80A: Grammy-winning pianist-singer (FIONA APPLE).
  • 87A: Actress in TV's "Picket Fences" and "NCIS" (LAUREN HOLLY).
  • 98A: "CHiPs" actress, 1979-82 (RANDI OAKES).
  • 101A: "American Beauty" co-star (THORA BIRCH).
  • 112A: He played The Chief in "Dirty Harry" (JOHN LARCH).
  • 121A: Why there are so many tree people in this puzzle? (BY POPLAR DEMAND).
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Everything 1A: Anthony's "Psycho" co-star (JANET); 6A: JFK sight, once (SST); 9A: Manchurian border river (AMUR); 13A: Sack preceder (KNAP-); 17A: Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie ___" (AMOUR); 18A: Great service? (ACE); 19A: NYC neighborhood (SOHO); 20A: Noted positive thinker (PEALE); 21A: "Boyz n the Hood" co-star (MORRIS CHESTNUT); 24A: "The ___ Queene" (FAERIE); 25A: Ecto's opposite (ENDO); 26A: War zone, 1853-56 (CRIMEA); 27A: Star of a 1970s cop sitcom (HAL LINDEN); 29A: ___ Lanka (SRI); 30A: "It's either them ___" (OR US); 31A: Long intro? (ERE); 33A: No effort (EASE); 34A: "Grumpy Old Men" star (JACK LEMMON); 37A: Cosmetics queen (MARY KAY ASH); 43A: Turkish title (AGA); 44A: Adulterated (IMPURE); 46A: Sunburn sites (NECKS); 47A: "Other woman" in 1990s tabloids (MARLA MAPLES); 52A: "See ya, Sophia" (CIAO); 55A: Sch. on the Charles (MIT); 56A: Losing line in a game (OXO); 57A: Dude (GUY); 58A: "Saps at Sea" co-star (STAN LAUREL); 62A: Tinseltown turkey (BOMB); 64A: Toon collectible (CEL); 65A: English school (ETON); 66A: "___ doozy!" (IT'S A); 67A: "Twice-Told Tales" writer, with 70 Across (NATHANIEL); 70A: See 67 Across (HAWTHORNE); 74A: Voting district (WARD); 75A: Brazilian highlands, the ___ Grosso (MATO); 77A: Aliens, briefly (ET'S); 78A: Slangy sustenance (EATS); 80A: Grammy-winning pianist-singer (FIONA APPLE); 83A: Mae West play, "Diamond ___" (LIL); 84A: Water gate? (TAP); 85A: Be up (BAT); 86A: TV chef Ming (anagram of 66 Across) (TSAI); 87A: Actress in TV's "Picket Fences" and "NCIS" (LAUREN HOLLY); 92A: Shake like ___ (A LEAF); 95A: "Who art thou that ___ to the king?" (I Sam. 26:14) (CRIEST); 97A: Humongous span (EON); 98A: "CHiPs" actress, 1979-82 (RANDI OAKES); 101A: "American Beauty" co-star (THORA BIRCH); 107A: "Born Free" lioness (ELSA); 108A: Greek letter (TAU); 110A: Medal deserver (HERO); 111A: Great time (ERA); 112A: He played The Chief in "Dirty Harry" (JOHN LARCH); 117A: Tiny bit (SMIDGE); 119A: Word related to "admiral" (EMIR); 120A: Repugnant (ODIOUS); 121A: Why there are so many tree people in this puzzle? (BY POPLAR DEMAND); 124A: Bad-service upshot (NO TIP); 125A: First lady's home? (EDEN); 126A: Wrath (IRE); 127A: Hint (TINGE); 128A: Course completer (GRAD); 129A: Artist Magritte (RENÉ); 130A: Hill dweller (ANT); 131A: Pilgrim John (ALDEN); 1D: "Cinderella Man" subject, ___ Braddock (JAMES J.); 2D: Egyptian sun god, variantly (AMON-RA); 3D: From Scandinavia (NORDIC); 4D: Multi-country dough (EURO); 5D: Plex prefix (TRI-); 6D: Pelvis part (SACRUM); 7D: Rift (SCHISM); 8D: Swarm (TEEM); 9D: ___ on the Walk of Fame (A STAR); 10D: Pt. of a three-day weekend (MON.); 11D: Slangy denial (UH-UH); 12D: "The Godfather" composer (ROTA); 13D: Superb visual sense (KEEN EYE); 14D: Aromatic ointment (NARD); 15D: "I cannot tell ___" (A LIE); 16D: Hammer part (PEEN); 20D: Slangy comrade (PAISAN); 22D: Beatlemania sound (SCREAM); 23D: Carly Simon tune, "Have You ___ Lately?" (SEEN ME); 24D: Strong criticism (FLAK); 28D: "The Conquest of Space" author Willy (LEY); 30D: Olympic first name (OLGA); 32D: Outback dweller (EMU); 35D: ___ Kan (KAL); 36D: Slick (OILY); 38D: Secret stuff (ARCANA); 39D: Rider's handful (REIN); 40D: Pinnacle (ACME); 41D: Power-tool brand (SKIL); 42D: Pres. from Missouri (HST); 45D: Sibilant summons (PSST); 47D: Overwhelm with people (MOB); 48D: Impulse carrier (AXON); 49D: Tomato variety (ROMA); 50D: They might be hidden (AGENDAS); 51D: Hungarian sheepdog (PULI); 53D: Somewhat (A LITTLE); 54D: Some are solemn (OATHS); 59D: Japanese studio that made the original "Godzilla" (TOHO); 60D: GI R&R provider (USO); 61D: Few and far between (RARE); 63D: Stealth plane (B-TWO); 64D: Diamond unit (CARAT); 65D: Tel Aviv server (EL AL); 68D: Chewie's chum (HAN); 69D: New York, the ___ State (EMPIRE); 71D: Small dam (WEIR); 72D: Countrywide: abbr. (NATL.); 73D: Latin abbr. (ET AL.); 76D: Cast opening? (TELE-); 79D: Camp intruder (SPY); 80D: FDR's terrier (FALA); 81D: Hwy. thru Houston (I-TEN); 82D: Prepare for a trip (PACK); 83D: Protestant in Garrison Keillor stories: abbr. (LUTH.); 85D: Tavern (BAR); 88D: Dumb as ___ (A STUMP); 89D: Got closer to (NEARED); 90D: Freight-train hopper (HOBO); 91D: Sea-based covert org. (ONI); 93D: Tonsil's neighbor (ADENOID); 94D: Pump purchase (FILL-UP); 96D: Tour's end? (-IST); 99D: She-bears, in Seville (OSAS); 100D: Swiss river (AAR); 102D: "Aw, geez!" ("OH DARN!"); 103D: Contrite feeling (REGRET); 104D: Send back, in law (REMAND); 105D: Draw back (CRINGE); 106D: Set (HARDEN); 109D: In unison (AS ONE); 112D: "Fear of Flying" author (JONG); 113D: "P.U." elicitor (ODOR); 114D: ___ homer (HIT A); 115D: Radio-using trucker (CB'ER); 116D: Jekyll's alter ego (HYDE); 118D: Skating gold medalist Kulik (ILIA); 119D: Man's name (or backward, a citrus fruit) (EMIL); 122D: Write (PEN); 123D: Airport abbr. (ETA).

08.28 Sun

August 28, 2011
Robert A. Doll

[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]

Theme: "Fish Heads" Take the first word of each theme entry and add FISH to get a type of fish.

Theme Entries:
  • 23A: Constant threat, metaphorically (SWORD OF DAMOCLES).
  • 33A: Confederate Memorial Carving site (STONE MOUNTAIN).
  • 42A: Pianist who claimed to have invented jazz (JELLY ROLL MORTON).
  • 71A: Doomed duo (STAR-CROSSED LOVERS).
  • 97A: Esso ad phrase (TIGER IN YOUR TANK).
  • 105A: Light dessert (ANGEL FOOD CAKE).
  • 123A: Source of spy movie suspense (CAT AND MOUSE GAME).
Fish heads, fish heads, roly-poly fish heads. Do you remember that song? There will be no video provided. Anyway, this is Doug on Sunday. Pretty cool theme today. I'm not familiar with STONEfish or TIGERfish. Well, tigerfish sounds vaguely familiar. The rest of them all are solid. I don't normally eat seafood, but I had a swordfish steak once. It was OK. And they gave you the swordy part to use as a knife, so that was cool.

OK, I did a Google search for tigerfish, and look at the picture I found. That's a goliath tigerfish from Africa. Pure nightmare fuel! I was thinking tigerfish had black and orange stripes and looked kind of like Nemo from "Finding Nemo." I guess not. Now I'm too scared to look up stonefish.

I had a couple more things to say about the theme, but it's hard to concentrate with that demon fish staring at me. I do remember that SWORD OF DAMOCLES and STAR-CROSSED LOVERS were my favorites.

  • 7A: Dirty dog (SCALAWAG). Great entry! Would you rather be called a "scalawag" or a "varmint"?
  • 23A: Constant threat, metaphorically (SWORD OF DAMOCLES). I'm betting that most of you know the source of this phrase. If not, check it out here: Sword of Damocles.
  • 25A: Inscribed pillar (STELA). I'm going to link to the Crosswordese 101 entry for STELE because as far as I can tell, STELA & STELE are interchangeable.
  • 30A: Russian communications acronym since 1992 (ITAR). Information Telegraphy Agency of Russia. Sounds like something from the '50s, not the '90s.
  • 50A: Yellow-fever mosquito (AEDES). I haven't seen this one in ages. Old-school crosswordese

  • 76A: Tiberius' villa at Sperlonga included one (GROTTO). I love the specificity of this clue, even though I know nothing about Tiberius' villa or its bitchin' grotto.
  • 111A: Aardwolf's diet (INSECTS). Everyone knows that aardvarks eat insects, but I thought an aardwolf would eat something more challenging. I mean, it's a wolf, right? OK, let's see what Wikipedia has to say: "It is related to hyenas, but unlike its relatives, it does not hunt large prey. It feeds mainly on termites and can eat more than 200,000 in a single night, using its long, sticky tongue to collect them." I take it all back. Aardwolves are awesome!
  • 2D: Alamo hero (BOWIE). I was going to make a joke about David Bowie being at the Alamo, but I didn't want anyone to have to correct me in the comments. It was former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn who fought and died there.
  • 72D: Almond __: candy (ROCA). One of my favorites. And great for destroying your dental work.
OK, I'm going to cut it a little short today. PuzzleGirl Central is closing up early because of Hurricane Irene, and I want to get this blog posted as soon as possible. I hope all of our East Coast readers stay safe and dry!

If you're looking for an extra puzzle this weekend, I urge you print out Brad Wilber's latest Free Themeless puzzle. Brad's put together a fabulous grid, and there are two ways to play. You can solve with the extra-challenging "Crunchy" clues or the easier "Smooth" clues. My advice is to print out both sets. See how far you can get with the Crunchy clues, and then sneak a peek at the Smooth clues when you get stuck.

Everything 1A: Building supports (I-BEAMS); 7A: Dirty dog (SCALAWAG); 15A: Calyx part (SEPAL); 20A: Sarge, e.g. (NON-COM); 21A: Drive off (ALIENATE); 22A: Said in an ugly way (SNIDE); 23A: Constant threat, metaphorically (SWORD OF DAMOCLES); 25A: Inscribed pillar (STELA); 26A: Floor square (TILE); 27A: Is deceptive, in a way (LIES); 28A: Nile reptile (ASP); 30A: Russian communications acronym since 1992 (ITAR); 31A: Vacation area (SEASIDE); 33A: Confederate Memorial Carving site (STONE MOUNTAIN); 39A: German article (DER); 40A: Healthy as __ (AN OX); 41A: Do goo (GEL); 42A: Pianist who claimed to have invented jazz (JELLYROLL MORTON); 50A: Yellow-fever mosquito (AEDES); 54A: Bullfight cry (OLÉ OLÉ); 55A: __-de-France (ILE); 56A: Get the better of (ONE-UP); 58A: Watch (EYE); 59A: Controversial orchard spray (ALAR); 60A: Comic Carvey (DANA); 62A: "On His Blindness" poet (MILTON); 64A: River to the Rhein (AARE); 65A: Places to pick up cats (NAPES); 67A: "La Loge" artist (RENOIR); 69A: Deep-seated (INBRED); 71A: Doomed duo (STAR-CROSSED LOVERS); 76A: Tiberius' villa at Sperlonga included one (GROTTO); 78A: Current events? (EDDIES); 79A: Dabbling ducks (TEALS); 82A: Hot stuff (LAVA); 83A: 1951 Lanza role (CARUSO); 87A: Early '60s Polo Grounds team, nowadays (JETS); 89A: "Dragonwyck" author Seton (ANYA); 90A: Island strings (UKE); 91A: Country estate (MANOR); 92A: In place of (FOR); 93A: Trojan War counselor (NESTOR); 95A: Land in old Rome (TERRA); 97A: Esso ad phrase (TIGER IN YOUR TANK); 101A: Amsterdam street adornment (ELM); 103A: Results (ENDS); 104A: "Oz" airer (HBO); 105A: Light dessert (ANGELFOOD CAKE); 111A: Aardwolf's diet (INSECTS); 116A: Apply in a slapdash way (DAUB); 117A: Wood on a diamond? (ASH); 118A: Peek-__ (A-BOO); 120A: Seed pod (ARIL); 121A: Literally, "to God" (ADIOS); 123A: Source of spy movie suspense (CAT-AND-MOUSE GAME); 129A: Irritating (PESKY); 130A: Places for duds (ARMOIRES); 131A: Made square (EVENED); 132A: Head lock (TRESS); 133A: Foolhardy (RECKLESS); 134A: Ones who excite devils? (DARERS); 1D: MIT and others (INSTS.); 2D: Alamo hero (BOWIE); 3D: __ Gay: WWII plane (ENOLA); 4D: Plots that may be developed (ACRES); 5D: In style (MOD); 6D: Existed in a suppressed state (SMOLDERED); 7D: "Smooth Operator" singer (SADE); 8D: Word with act or action (CLASS); 9D: Draw a bead (AIM); 10D: Denebola's constellation (LEO); 11D: Mandela's org. (ANC); 12D: __-Mart Stores, Inc. (WAL); 13D: TV group with B.A. Baracus and Hannibal Smith (A-TEAM); 14D: Bas-relief medium (GESSO); 15D: Barbecue sound (SSS); 16D: Authorize (ENTITLE); 17D: St. Peter's Basilica masterpiece (PIETA); 18D: Dwight's two-time opponent (ADLAI); 19D: Get wind (of) (LEARN); 24D: '80s Pontiac (FIERO); 29D: Curly-tailed dog (PUG); 32D: Poem of everyday life (IDYL); 34D: Hardly racy (TAME); 35D: Notable 1969 bride (ONO); 36D: "The world will little note, __ long remember, what we say here": Lincoln (NOR); 37D: Heap praises on (EXTOL); 38D: Ebb's relative (NEAP); 42D: Shaw title saint (JOAN); 43D: Cinders of old comics (ELLA); 44D: Vaults (LEAPS OVER); 45D: Lynn from Kentucky (LORETTA); 46D: Titanic, e.g. (LINER); 47D: Grassy plain (LLANO); 48D: Can. province (ONT.); 49D: Con opener (NEO); 51D: Hopeful letter opener (DEAR SANTA); 52D: Rochester's love (EYRE); 53D: __ money (SEED); 57D: TCU part: Abbr. (UNIV.); 61D: S part (ARC); 62D: Botch (MISDO); 63D: Plenty mad (IRED); 64D: Up with, with "of" (ABREAST); 66D: Remained (SAT); 68D: Psych ending (-OSES); 70D: Surfing site (NET); 72D: Almond __: candy (ROCA); 73D: Tangy mustard (DIJON); 74D: On one's guard (LEERY); 75D: Düsseldorf direction (OST); 76D: Oversupply (GLUT); 77D: Croupier's tool (RAKE); 80D: City about 200 miles from Marseille (LYON); 81D: Cutty __: Scotch (SARK); 84D: Aardvark's tidbit (ANT); 85D: "Vive le __!" (ROI); 86D: More than suggested (URGED); 88D: Like a 29-Down (SNUB-NOSED); 91D: Shopping venue (MALL); 92D: Hall of Fame catcher Carlton (FISK); 94D: Libido symbol (EROS); 96D: Nikes alternative (REEBOKS); 98D: Something besides the ltr. (ENC.); 99D: Nutritional stat (RDA); 100D: Sch. in Athens (OHIO U.); 102D: Writer's deg. (MFA); 105D: Show flexibility (ADAPT); 106D: Perennial '90s-'00s presidential candidate (NADER); 107D: False front (GUISE); 108D: One may be present when an envelope is opened (OSCAR); 109D: Midwest hub (O'HARE); 110D: Chair designer Charles (EAMES); 112D: Anxious (EAGER); 113D: Film set contraption (CRANE); 114D: Track official (TIMER); 115D: They may follow teams (SLEDS); 119D: Honcho (BOSS); 122D: Procedure: Abbr. (SYS.); 124D: Cinephile's TV choice (TMC); 125D: Hunky-dory (A-OK); 126D: Nothing at all (NIL); 127D: Doctor of music? (DRE); 128D: Stowe girl (EVA).


08.27 Sat

August 27, 2011
Kyle T. Dolan

Theme: None

Good morning, gang. I'm pretty sure there will come a point in the next 24 hours or so where my power goes out and I have a few things to do before that happens. So let's take a quick run through this puzzle and get on with other things. Lots of good stuff in this grid. My favorite entries are HANG TIME, SKYPED, and ROCK BALLAD (7A: Seconds in the air, to punters / 56A: Phoned on a computer, in technospeak / 4D: Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," e.g.). Stuff I just flat-out didn't know includes:

  • 20A: Second crop of a growing season (ROWEN). You would think having grown up in the midwest I would know the farm-related jargon, but no.
  • 37A: New Jersey river (RARITAN).
  • 20D: "__ to the Top": Keni Burke song (RISIN'). Who? Oh, wait a minute. This slow jam sounds a little familiar to me.

  • 1A: Gum with a jingle that began, "So kiss a little longer" (BIG RED). Thanks for the earworm.
  • 34A: Calls at home (BALLS AND STRIKES). Baseball!
  • 48A: Air Force pilot who became a pop star (DON HO). Who knew?
  • 14D: Rose point (EAST). This is a reference to a compass rose. If you don't know what that is, for God's sake, Google it.
  • 30D: Married couple? (ARS). And if you don't understand this one, take a look at the crosswordese round-up down at the bottom of this post. Down there, you'll see that the word ARS is a link and if you click on it you'll be magically transported to a day in the past where this type of tricky entry was explained, in this case by the lovely and talented Orange.
  • 49D: Object of ogling (HUNK). Okay, this is funny. It didn't occur to me for a minute that women would be oglers. I'm always a little startled when my brain does that to me. It's like that old riddle with the doctor ("This boy is my son!") that makes you really think about assumptions and the fact that we, ya know, have them. Even if we don't think we do.
Sorry if this post isn't as entertaining as what you typically find here (You: "Wait, it's usually entertaining?"). I mean, I got damn near philosophical there at the end. I guess I just have a lot on my mind with the storm coming. And that reminds me. I remember back in the day when, here in the Washington area, the TV people would go all nuts about the coming BLIZZARD and then it would snow for 20 minutes. We really didn't used to have to take these people seriously is what I'm saying. But that seems to have changed. I dare say I'm none too happy about it.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 36A: Etta James classic (AT LAST).
  • 10D: Fed personnel (G-MEN).
  • 23D: French Revolution figure (MARAT).
  • 28D: Co-composer of "Johnny's Theme" (ANKA).
  • 30D: Married couple? (ARS).
  • 32D: Cantina cooker (OLLA).
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  • 1A: Gum with a jingle that began, "So kiss a little longer" (BIG RED); 7A: Seconds in the air, to punters (HANG TIME); 15A: Wicked (UNHOLY); 16A: Penance component (AVE MARIA); 17A: Poker chips are often seen in them (STACKS); 18A: Chocolaty treats (DOVE BARS); 19A: Some charity races (TEN-KS); 20A: Second crop of a growing season (ROWEN); 21A: Reason for a prep course (SAT); 22A: Healthy piece (SLAB); 23A: Picky person? (MINER); 24A: Brought down (ABASED); 26A: Bangladesh capital (DHAKA); 31A: Guiding light (POLARIS); 33A: Longhorn rival (SOONER); 34A: Calls at home (BALLS AND STRIKES); 36A: Etta James classic (AT LAST); 37A: New Jersey river (RARITAN); 38A: Exhilarating (HEADY); 39A: Folly (LUNACY); 40A: Threadbare (RATTY); 41A: Words spoken after Polonius says, "I hear him coming: let's withdraw, my lord" (TO BE); 45A: Tie up loose ends? (SEW); 48A: Air Force pilot who became a pop star (DON HO); 49A: Right to play first, in golf (HONOR); 50A: Grace (ELEGANCE); 52A: One of Penelope's 108 in the "Odyssey" (SUITOR); 53A: Disdainful (CAVALIER); 54A: Chant (INTONE); 55A: Diving concern (THE BENDS); 56A: Phoned on a computer, in technospeak (SKYPED); 1D: Marble works (BUSTS); 2D: Espionage aid, for short (INTEL); 3D: Country that eliminated the United States at the last two World Cups (GHANA); 4D: Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," e.g. (ROCK BALLAD); 5D: FDR and Truman, fraternally (ELKS); 6D: Bad opening? (DYS-); 7D: Could choose (HAD ONE'S DRUTHERS); 8D: Swore (AVOWED); 9D: Word heard before and after "say" (NEVER); 10D: Fed personnel (G-MEN); 11D: Someone has to pick it up (TAB); 12D: Savings choices, briefly (IRA'S); 13D: Sorvino of "Mighty Aphrodite" (MIRA); 14D: Rose point (EAST); 20D: "__ to the Top": Keni Burke song (RISIN'); 23D: French Revolution figure (MARAT); 25D: Having strong low tones, as headphones (BASSY); 26D: Column style (DORIC); 27D: Highfalutin (HOITY-TOITY); 28D: Co-composer of "Johnny's Theme" (ANKA); 29D: Not dull (KEEN); 30D: Married couple? (ARS); 31D: Spread with drinks (PATÉ); 32D: Cantina cooker (OLLA); 33D: Pickup for a pound (STRAY); 34D: "Nuts!" ("BAH!"); 35D: Pedro o Pablo (SANTO); 39D: Pierced surgically (LANCED); 40D: 1998 De Niro thriller (RONIN); 42D: Leading (ON TOP); 43D: Cumberland Gap explorer (BOONE); 44D: Stumbled (ERRED); 45D: Branch (SECT); 46D: Valley where David fought Goliath (ELAH); 47D: Bob Seger's "__ Got Tonight" (WE'VE); 48D: Low area (DALE); 49D: Object of ogling (HUNK); 51D: Speak idly (GAB); 52D: Cheer syllable (SIS).
  • 8.26.2011

    08.26 Fri

    F R I D A Y
    August 26, 2011
    James Sajdak

    Theme: Sound Substitution — The Z sound is changed to a DS sound in familiar phrases.

    Theme answers:

    • 20A: Easy-to-use sock drawer organizer? (PEDS DISPENSER).
    • 28A: Dog show eye-catchers? (COOL BREEDS).
    • 36A: Feline alpha groups? (TOP PRIDES).
    • 48A: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are the Champions"? (QUEEN SIDES).
    • 56A: Winter Olympics winner's wall hanging? (BLADES OF GLORY).
    Y'all on the East Coast ready for a hurricane? PuzzleHusband is in Texas and PuzzleKids are in Canada, so I'm hunkering down for this one solo. If the power stays on, this might be a great weekend. I have a ton of stuff to do around the house and with the bad weather I won't feel guilty for staying inside. If the power goes out though? Whole different story. Crossing my fingers!

    Today we're looking at a simple sound substitution theme. It's a cute idea, but I can't help thinking a bunch of Zs would make the grid more interesting, so it's kind of shame they're being taken out. What I'm really looking for in a theme like this is a theme answer where both the original and resulting phrases are interesting and colorful. Two of the five fit the bill today: COOL BREEDS and BLADES OF GLORY. But look at the others. PEZ DISPENSER is cool, but PEDS DISPENSER? Besides the fact that I don't even think it makes sense (PEDS = socks??), I've gotta believe that if "sock drawer organizer" is the best clue you can come up with for a theme answer, I'd say it's time to look for a better theme answer. QUEEN SIDES is an interesting phrase (and it has a great clue), but it started out as QUEEN-SIZE which is … a type of mattress. TOP PRIDES has the distinction of being a boring answer and based on a boring phrase. Ta-da!

    • 1A: Henri's here (ICI). Starting right off at 1-Across with … French!
    • 10A: Druid's sacred hill (TARA). There were Druids in "Gone With the Wind"?
    • 18A: Bandit feature? (ONE ARM). Cute clue! This is a reference to a slot machine. But you knew that.
    • 63A: 36 for nine, often (PAR). Golf.
    • 64A: Votes for (AYES). Tricky. "Votes" in the clue is actually a noun, not a verb. E.g., "We've got three votes for and two against."
    • 66A: Owner of Abbey Road Studios (EMI). Anyone else try ONO here first?
    • 2D: Set pieces? (CAMERAS). Movie set.
    • 6D: Appearance announcement (PRESTO). I couldn't tell what this clue was going for, but this is a great entry.
    • 29D: No right __ (ON RED). This is embarrassing to admit, but I actually entered OF WAY first. Yes, I realize that's a terrible answer.
    • 39D: Subj. of an '80s-'90s financial crisis (S AND L). I had a hard time parsing this. It's Savings & Loan.
    • 40D: EPA concern (AQI). Air Quality Index. I think.
    • 46D: St. Louis team, familiarly (THE RAMS). I know it's only been, what? fifteen years or so? I just can't think of the RAMS as being in St. Louis.
    • 57D: Price or Battle (DIVA). I knew these were both last names of opera singers, but.
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 66A: Owner of Abbey Road Studios (EMI).
    • 8D: Empty weight (TARE).
    • 30D: Jasmine neckwear, perhaps (LEI).
    • 58D: Genesis grandson (ENOS).
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    Everything 1A: Henri's here (ICI); 4A: Sci-fi psychic (EMPATH); 10A: Druid's sacred hill (TARA); 14A: What Lin's D.C. wall commemorates (NAM); 15A: Craps table tactic (PARLAY); 16A: Like some terrible reviews (ACID); 17A: Wee (SMA); 18A: Bandit feature? (ONE ARM); 19A: Watch lights, briefly (LCD'S); 20A: Easy-to-use sock drawer organizer? (PEDS DISPENSER); 23A: Emphatic words (I REPEAT); 24A: Run-of-the-mill (USUAL); 27A: Track position (RAIL); 28A: Dog show eye-catchers? (COOL BREEDS); 32A: Cornerstone abbr. (ESTAB.); 34A: Just outside of (NEAR); 35A: Rolls in the grass? (SOD); 36A: Feline alpha groups? (TOP PRIDES); 40A: Palm Sunday carrier (ASS); 43A: German battleship Graf __ (SPEE); 44A: 1945 "Big Three" conference site (YALTA); 48A: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are the Champions"? (QUEEN SIDES); 52A: Slangy negatives (NAHS); 53A: 14th-century Russian prince (IVAN I); 54A: Retro tees (TIE-DYES); 56A: Winter Olympics winner's wall hanging? (BLADES OF GLORY); 60A: Prussian pair (ZWEI); 62A: Stimulate (INCITE); 63A: 36 for nine, often (PAR); 64A: Votes for (AYES); 65A: Semi-sheer fabrics (VOILES); 66A: Owner of Abbey Road Studios (EMI); 67A: Orkin target (PEST); 68A: Speak with conviction (ASSERT); 69A: Decoding org. (NSA); 1D: Fire up (INSPIRE); 2D: Set pieces? (CAMERAS); 3D: Cry from one reaching the top (I MADE IT); 4D: Lyrical poetic form (EPODE); 5D: Zealot-plus (MANIAC); 6D: Appearance announcement (PRESTO); 7D: Gain __: get further ahead in the race (A LAP); 8D: Empty weight (TARE); 9D: Mass music (HYMN); 10D: "Honor Thy Father" author (TALESE); 11D: Grows (ACCRUES); 12D: Purged (RID); 13D: Spots with slogans (ADS); 21D: Egg toss miss indicator (SPLAT); 22D: Light carriage (SURREY); 25D: Flap (ADO); 26D: Dr. Leary's turn-on (LSD); 29D: No right __ (ON RED); 30D: Jasmine neckwear, perhaps (LEI); 31D: Wicked (BAD); 33D: Sarajevo's region (BOSNIA); 37D: Forgetful writer's letters? (P.P.S.); 38D: Louvre Pyramid designer (PEI); 39D: Subj. of an '80s-'90s financial crisis (S AND L); 40D: EPA concern (AQI); 41D: Toyota RAV4, e.g. (SUV); 42D: Navy builders (SEABEES); 45D: Expose (LAY OPEN); 46D: St. Louis team, familiarly (THE RAMS); 47D: Ancient kingdom on the Tigris (ASSYRIA); 49D: Sign on (ENLIST); 50D: Star of France (ÉTOILE); 51D: Bakery utensil (SIFTER); 55D: Discharge (EGEST); 57D: Price or Battle (DIVA); 58D: Genesis grandson (ENOS); 59D: H.S. courses (SCIS); 60D: Cook quickly, in a way (ZAP); 61D: Three-switch railroad track section (WYE).


    08.25 Thu

    T H U R S D A Y
    August 25, 2011
    David Poole

    Theme: Wall Street Puns — Familiar finance-industry phrases are clued as if they're not related to the finance industry.

    Theme answers:

    • 20A: Chicken, beef, or fish? (STOCK OPTION).
    • 58A: Expensive bottle of wine? (LIQUID ASSET).
    • 11D: Shop specializing in Winnie the Pooh merchandise? (BEAR MARKET).
    • 29D: Money set aside for garden mazes? (HEDGE FUNDS).
    Quick write-up today. I was up way too late last night (I was awake for the aftershocks! Crazy!) and have a lot to get to today. I guess I better batten down the hatches around here. I don't really know what that means, but it sounds like what you should do to prepare for a hurricane, right?

    Another serviceable puzzle today. Nothing to write home about. I have to wonder if today's climate is a good one for being nonchalant about the stock market. I'm thinking not so much. Plus how fresh and colorful are these theme answers? Answer: Not fresh and/or colorful at all. The sparkle in this puzzle comes from a couple of the non-theme answers: SKELETON, VERONICA, and CORNROW (51A: Word with crew or key / 5D: Archie's heartthrob / 9D: Tight braid).

    • 5A: Globetrotter's need (VISA). Me: "Basketball?"
    • 48A: Gin maker Whitney (ELI). ELI Whitney. Not that kind of gin!
    • 53A: Gridiron call (OFFSIDE). If I ever start feeling cocky, like I know what's going on in one of the PuzzleKids' soccer game, I just have to wait for the next OFFSIDE call because I don't understand that At All.
    • 7D: Diamonds, but not emeralds (SUIT). Cute clue.
    • 42D: "__ With Morrie": Albom best-seller (TUESDAYS). I read a Mitch Albom book once for a book club. The best thing I can say about it is that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
    • 52D: German sub? (ERSATZ). It's a German word and it means "sub" (substitute).
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 16A: Curved moldings (OGEES).
    • 48A: Gin maker Whitney (ELI).
    • 13D: German steel town (ESSEN).
    • 38D: Joyce's homeland (ERIN).
    • 47D: Hip bones (ILIA).
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    Everything 1A: Beatles film (HELP); 5A: Globetrotter's need (VISA); 9A: TV choice (CABLE); 14A: x, y and z, in math (AXES); 15A: Israel's Barak (EHUD); 16A: Curved moldings (OGEES); 17A: Hard to spot (TINY); 18A: Muddy up (ROIL); 19A: Chestnut-hued horses (ROANS); 20A: Chicken, beef, or fish? (STOCK OPTION); 23A: Bar order (RYE); 24A: Sweetie (HON); 25A: Three-time Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film (BERGMAN); 27A: Saw (APHORISM); 32A: Membership list (ROTA); 33A: Slangy morning cup (JOE); 34A: Tabloid exclusive (SCOOP); 36A: Inferior (WORSE); 39A: Director of the last episode of "M*A*S*H" (ALDA); 41A: Concerning (ABOUT); 43A: Hershey's toffee bar (SKOR); 44A: First name in daytime TV (REGIS); 46A: World-weariness (ENNUI); 48A: Gin maker Whitney (ELI); 49A: Jazz and swing periods (ERAS); 51A: Word with crew or key (SKELETON); 53A: Gridiron call (OFFSIDE); 56A: Respectful title (SIR); 57A: French vineyard (CRU); 58A: Expensive bottle of wine? (LIQUID ASSET); 64A: River including Livingstone Falls (CONGO); 66A: Major in astronomy? (URSA); 67A: Balm ingredient (ALOE); 68A: Milk dispenser (UDDER); 69A: Hardly handsome (UGLY); 70A: Loads (TONS); 71A: Run for the __: Kentucky Derby (ROSES); 72A: Understands (SEES); 73A: Gusto (ZEST); 1D: Boaters and bowlers (HATS); 2D: Auditorium sign (EXIT); 3D: "Leading With My Chin" author (LENO); 4D: Film with a creepy motel owner (PSYCHO); 5D: Archie's heartthrob (VERONICA); 6D: Denny's competitor (IHOP); 7D: Diamonds, but not emeralds (SUIT); 8D: Robin Williams forte (AD LIB); 9D: Tight braid (CORNROW); 10D: Gone by (AGO); 11D: Shop specializing in Winnie the Pooh merchandise? (BEAR MARKET); 12D: Lotte who played Rosa Klebb in "From Russia With Love" (LENYA); 13D: German steel town (ESSEN); 21D: Fashion designer Michael (KORS); 22D: Anthem contraction (O'ER); 26D: Pontiac muscle cars (GTO'S); 27D: Slightly cracked (AJAR); 28D: Angler's need (POLE); 29D: Money set aside for garden mazes? (HEDGE FUNDS); 30D: Drink brand with a lizard logo (SOBE); 31D: Mars pair (MOONS); 35D: __ rock (PUNK); 37D: Alone (SOLO); 38D: Joyce's homeland (ERIN); 40D: Ostentatious behavior (AIRS); 42D: "__ With Morrie": Albom best-seller (TUESDAYS); 45D: Salts on the ocean (SAILORS); 47D: Hip bones (ILIA); 50D: Star Wars prog. (SDI); 52D: German sub? (ERSATZ); 53D: Present itself, as a thought (OCCUR); 54D: Tolkien ringbearer (FRODO); 55D: 1975 Tony-winning play about a stableboy (EQUUS); 59D: The munchies, e.g. (URGE); 60D: Cruise stop (ISLE); 61D: Dark purple fruit (SLOE); 62D: Eternities, seemingly (EONS); 63D: Midterm or final (TEST); 65D: "Golly!" ("GEE!").


    08.24 Wed

    W E D N E S D A Y
    August 24, 2011
    Michael Daems

    Theme: FACE Bookends — Each theme answer begins with FA and ends with CE so, in each case, the word FACE is a "bookend."

    Theme answers:

    • 20A: *Miss (FAIL TO NOTICE).
    • 28A: *Simulated living room feature (FAUX FIREPLACE).
    • 45A: *Feature of many Bee Gees songs (FALSETTO VOICE).
    • 51A: Headline that would shock the Internet community (or put another way, hint to the divided word in each of the answers to the divided word in each of the answers to starred clues) (FACEBOOK ENDS).
    There's some good stuff in here but, overall, my experience of this puzzle is just "meh." The reveal answer for the theme is cute, but it's almost too cute for my taste. The theme phrases didn't strike me as particularly interesting. I imagine FAUX FIREPLACE is a term people use in, maybe, the real estate business, but I've never heard it. And FALSETTO VOICE is one of those entries from the Department of Redundancy Department. So, FAIL TO NOTICE is the stand-out theme entry. Not much more to say than that.

    Okay, good stuff. I said there was some, right? The clue for TAYLOR is deliciously vague (6D: Five-time Grammy winner James). Is James a first name or last name? Is it our good friend Etta? My mind was flitting all over the place before finally landing on James.

    The long downs mostly just sit there doing nothing (CITIZENSHIP, EVIDEZzzzzzz). GIRAFFE is pretty good (5D: Long-necked mammal) and then — bam! — we get FUDGE FACTOR (25D: Arbitrary allowance for error). Definitely the highlight of the puzzle for me.

    • 10A: Shady plan (SCAM). Interesting how we were just talking about plan vs. plot the other day. Change plan to plot in this clue and it could mean something totally different!
    • 39A: Dan Patrick's channel, formerly (ESPN). What is Dan Patrick up to these days?
    • 50A: Some 12-yd. soccer shots (PKS). I have no idea what this means.
    • 63A: More-than-disappointing crowd? (NO ONE). I don't understand the question mark in this clue. Is there another meaning of "disappointing crowd" that I'm not thinking of?
    • 1D: The Tanners' adoptee, on TV (ALF). Okay, this is embarrassing. I was thinking of Danny Tanner from "Full House" and thought, "Michelle was adopted?"
    • 35D: Logical character (SPOCK). He offered a lot of very logical advice about babies and childcare.
    • 42D: Diffused through a membrane (OSMOSED). Ugh.
    • 47D: Aftershock (TREMOR). Timely! Yep, we sure as heck did have an earthquake here yesterday. I was shopping at Target when it hit. If it had been any stronger or lasted any longer I'm pretty sure various heavy objects would have been coming down on my head so I'm glad it was a small one. (Although, out of the five earthquakes I've felt in my life, it was by far the biggest!)
    • 53D: Curly cabbage (KALE).
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 14A: Hilo veranda (LANAI).
    • 38A: Ottoman officer (AGA).
    • 1D: The Tanners' adoptee, on TV (ALF).
    • 39D: Command for DDE (ETO).
    • 46D: Carol opening (ADESTE).
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    Everything 1A: Cellar process (AGING); 6A: Incline (TILT); 10A: Shady plan (SCAM); 14A: Hilo veranda (LANAI); 15A: Freshly (ANEW); 16A: Scrabble piece (TILE); 17A: Panache (FLAIR); 18A: He caught Don's 1956 World Series perfect game (YOGI); 19A: Bickering (AT IT); 20A: *Miss (FAIL TO NOTICE); 23A: Tolkien's Elrond, e.g. (ELF); 26A: One way to pace (FRO); 27A: Hold dear (PRIZE); 28A: *Simulated living room feature (FAUX FIREPLACE); 32A: Confounds (ADDLES); 33A: Poem of the countryside (IDYL); 34A: Fort Meade-based govt. org. (NSA); 37A: Standards, briefly (REGS); 38A: Ottoman officer (AGA); 39A: Dan Patrick's channel, formerly (ESPN); 40A: Portland-to-Boise dir. (ESE); 41A: Frosh, next year (SOPH); 43A: Scientific __ (METHOD); 45A: *Feature of many Bee Gees songs (FALSETTO VOICE); 48A: Respectful address (MADAM); 49A: Louis XIV, par exemple (ROI); 50A: Some 12-yd. soccer shots (PKS); 51A: Headline that would shock the Internet community (or put another way, hint to the divided word in each of the answers to starred clues) (FACEBOOK ENDS); 55A: Takes steps (ACTS); 56A: Land of Rama I (SIAM); 57A: Poke (ELBOW); 61A: Gait slower than a canter (TROT); 62A: 'Enry's greeting ('ELLO); 63A: More-than-disappointing crowd? (NO ONE); 64A: Miffed (SORE); 65A: Textile worker (DYER); 66A: Amarillo's home (TEXAS); 1D: The Tanners' adoptee, on TV (ALF); 2D: Lass (GAL); 3D: Garten of the Food Network (INA); 4D: Newbie (NAIF); 5D: Long-necked mammal (GIRAFFE); 6D: Five-time Grammy winner James (TAYLOR); 7D: Playing a fifth qtr., say (IN O.T.); 8D: Kid's building block (LEGO); 9D: Reinforced, as some dust bags (TWIN-PLY); 10D: Radio interference (STATIC); 11D: Immigrant test taker's goal (CITIZENSHIP); 12D: Rocker Cooper (ALICE); 13D: Dole (out) (METE); 21D: Pupil's place (IRIS); 22D: Uttered (ORAL); 23D: Online airline deal (E-FARE); 24D: Fills with cargo (LADES); 25D: Arbitrary allowance for error (FUDGE FACTOR); 29D: T-shirt sizes, for short (XL'S); 30D: Black ball (EIGHT); 31D: BlackBerry Bold, e.g. (PDA); 35D: Logical character (SPOCK); 36D: Aconcagua is its highest peak (ANDES); 38D: Mimic (APE); 39D: Command for DDE (ETO); 41D: Generous slice (SLAB); 42D: Diffused through a membrane (OSMOSED); 43D: Night light (MOON); 44D: Clear (EVIDENT); 46D: Carol opening (ADESTE); 47D: Aftershock (TREMOR); 48D: Computer shortcut (MACRO); 51D: Domino's nickname (FATS); 52D: Slick (OILY); 53D: Curly cabbage (KALE); 54D: Gin flavoring (SLOE); 58D: Spar in the ring (BOX); 59D: Stop __ dime (ON A); 60D: Filmmaker Craven (WES).


    08.23 Tue

    T U E S D A Y
    August 23, 2011
    Marti DuGuay-Carpenter

    Theme: Four Little Hogs — Each theme answer is the definition of a phrase that includes the word "hog."

    Theme answers:

    • 17A: Road hog (DANGEROUS DRIVER).
    • 27A: Hog heaven (ABSOLUTE BLISS).
    • 44A: Hog wild (OVERLY EXCITED).
    • 56A: Whole hog (WITH NO RESTRAINT).
    Another cute theme — looks like we're on a roll this week. I'm a big fan of the "definition" theme. As long as we don't see it every day, I think it's fun to have a little something different. I think we usually see this theme using a single word for each clue, so seeing phrases looks like a fresh idea to me. Now that I think about it, Tuesday is a great day for the "definition" theme. I hereby declare Tuesday the Ultimate Perfect Day for Definition Themes. So there's that.

    I'm not going to dwell on this, because I really like this puzzle overall and I hate to be negative (You: "Since when?"), but there sure are an awful lot of plurals in this grid. There are even two places (IOU'S / IV'S and RBI'S / ELIS) where the plurals cross at the S, which is a pet peeve of mine. Now that I've mentioned it, maybe it will start bugging you too. Maybe if you start reading this blog often enough, you'll eventually become so irritated at every little thing that you'll be a miserable, hollow person like me. You're welcome!

    My favorite clue/answer pairs in this grid are:
    • 6D: Kowtow (GROVEL), and
    • 38D: Stew (FRET).
    I am taking it as my personal challenge to use all four of those excellent words today in normal conversation.

    • 15A: Colosseo city (ROMA). Did you notice the Italian spelling of "Colosseum" in the clue? That should have told you that the answer would also be an Italian spelling.
    • 22A: Arm-twisting (DURESS). It took me a while to piece this together, but this is a great clue/answer pair.
    • 34A: Diddly, in Durango (NADA). I've never been a fan of the word "diddly." It sounds nasty to me.
    • 37A: Truth-in-advertising agcy. (BBB). The Better Business Bureau.
    • 39A: Candy with collectible dispensers (PEZ). Did you all get this one this time? I seem to recall last time it showed up several of you said you had never heard of PEZ.
    • 40A: Flying start? (AERO-). The prefix AERO- can be used to "start" a word that relates to "flying."
    • 42A: I-beam, e.g. (GIRDER). With the two Rs in place, I tried CURSOR here first. Sometimes it does look like a little I-beam, right? I'm not just making that up?
    • 2D: "A watched pot never boils" is one (ADAGE).

    • 11D: Auel's "The Clan of the __ Bear" (CAVE). We've been seeing a lot of Ms. Auel lately, haven't we? She's usually the answer, though, not the clue.
    • 13D: Viking's landing place (MARS). Had a conversation recently with the PuzzleKids where we told them they had Viking blood, which made them very tough and growly, so I couldn't think of any other type of Viking.
    • 19D: Cuban dance (RUMBA). RUMBA, SAMBA, SALSA — I always have to wait for crosses. I can already see the comments: "Um … you do know, PuzzleGirl, that SAMBA and SALSA are not Cuban, right?" Well, in my brain, they're all stored in the same place. (By the way, I have no idea if they're Cuban or not.)
    • 42D: Beanstalk threat (GIANT). So be careful if you're out in the garden today!
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 35A: Nietzsche's "never" (NIE).
    • 36A: Bush's undergraduate classmates (ELIS).
    • 47A: River in central Germany (EDER).
    • 43D: Hairy TV cousin (ITT).
    • 54D: Hairy Himalayan legend (YETI).
    • 58D: Legal thing (RES).
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    Everything 1A: Close-up lens (MACRO); 6A: Jazz jobs (GIGS); 10A: Con game (SCAM); 14A: The American dream, e.g. (IDEAL); 15A: Colosseo city (ROMA); 16A: "__, Can You Hear Me?": song from "Yentl" (PAPA); 17A: Road hog (DANGEROUS DRIVER); 20A: Pvt. driller (SGT.); 21A: Drips in the ER (IV'S); 22A: Arm-twisting (DURESS); 23A: Ritzy apartment feature (TERRACE); 26A: __ mater (ALMA); 27A: Hog heaven (ABSOLUTE BLISS); 32A: Frank topper (RELISH); 34A: Diddly, in Durango (NADA); 35A: Nietzsche's "never" (NIE); 36A: Bush's undergraduate classmates (ELIS); 37A: Truth-in-advertising agcy. (BBB); 38A: Disconcert (FAZE); 39A: Candy with collectible dispensers (PEZ); 40A: Flying start? (AERO-); 42A: I-beam, e.g. (GIRDER); 44A: Hog wild (OVERLY EXCITED); 47A: River in central Germany (EDER); 48A: Diamond-patterned structure, as a trellis (LATTICE); 51A: Black suit (SPADES); 54A: Hither's partner (YON); 55A: Beach shade (TAN); 56A: Whole hog (WITH NO RESTRAINT); 60A: GI's supply (AMMO); 61A: Mindless learning (ROTE); 62A: Shrink in increments (ERODE); 63A: It's history (PAST); 64A: Rephrase, say (EDIT); 65A: South-of-the-border sir (SEÑOR); 1D: Center (MIDST); 2D: "A watched pot never boils" is one (ADAGE); 3D: Bring under a single control (CENTRALIZE); 4D: Dusting aid (RAG); 5D: __ Miss (OLE); 6D: Kowtow (GROVEL); 7D: Chits in the pot (IOU'S); 8D: Baseball VIPs (GM'S); 9D: Got ready to ride (SADDLED); 10D: Slinky shape (SPIRAL); 11D: Auel's "The Clan of the __ Bear" (CAVE); 12D: King Kong's kin (APES); 13D: Viking's landing place (MARS); 18D: Big name in copiers (RICOH); 19D: Cuban dance (RUMBA); 24D: Baseball scoring stats (RBI'S); 25D: Shrek's sidekick Donkey, e.g. (ASS); 26D: Run __: postpone the bar bill (A TAB); 28D: Take out of the carton (UNBOX); 29D: Also (IN ADDITION); 30D: Fitting description? (SIZE); 31D: Nostradamus, for one (SEER); 32D: Auto taken back, briefly (REPO); 33D: Topog. map stat (ELEV.); 37D: Uncle Remus appellation (BR'ER); 38D: Stew (FRET); 40D: First Mayflower passenger to set foot on Plymouth Rock, so it's said (ALDEN); 41D: Neighborhood improvement target (EYESORE); 42D: Beanstalk threat (GIANT); 43D: Hairy TV cousin (ITT); 45D: Sizzling (RED-HOT); 46D: Room for a broom (CLOSET); 49D: "No prob!" ("CAN DO!"); 50D: Sign up to compete (ENTER); 51D: Trade (SWAP); 52D: Arizona tribe (PIMA); 53D: Bread machines, for short? (ATM'S); 54D: Hairy Himalayan legend (YETI); 57D: Valance holder (ROD); 58D: Legal thing (RES); 59D: "__ you serious?" (ARE).